CE Loop Setup Contents

Our Story
Our Loop Vision
Our Loop Guidelines
A Word About Leadership
The Meeting Place



We pray that our experiences in beginning a loop can be of benefit to you, if you are considering venturing out on something similar. All of us can attest to the fact that these God-ordained electronic relationships have changed our lives, and only served to help us be better teachers, mothers, wives, and Christians. We pray that you discover the same.



Our Story

The CE Support Loop began in April of 1997. It started as a couple of moms, who were seeking to find answers about Classical Education, began e-mailing each other for information, support, and encouragement. Two ladies started corresponding, then a third began writing with one of the original two, and the idea came up to send all the correspondance to each other as a “loop,” where the same letter is sent to everyone in the group.

None of us were experts in Classical Educational theory. Our topics ranged from “Just what is the Trivium, exactly, anyway?” to “How do you do Classical Education with older children - just dive in at the dialectic stage or try to backtrack?” to “Is this style of education something that homeschoolers can pursue successfully?” Notice how many of the discussions were centered around questions. Even though we were not experts, we found that through hashing out the issues among ourselves, sharing our experiences and continuing to educate ourselves on our own, we were able to come to an understanding over time, that made sense and that worked practically, that we had lacked in the beginning. We advocate this learning process, as so much of the benefit, to us, came from not merely knowing the answer, but from the process of discovering the answer.

We never advertised membership in the loop. As individuals in the original small group met others (on-line usually) that were also homeschooling using Classical Education, they were personally invited to become a part of the group. We would encourage any others seeking to begin or become a part of a CE Support Loop to not despise the day of small beginnings. A loop can begin with just two people. The low number in the beginning helped us to become friends and sisters as well as homeschooling co-workers. We were able to help each other not just with classical education, but with disciplining our children or having the right attitude towards our husbands. We view taking the time to build relationships with the others in the loop as essential. When disputes over some interpretation of Classical theory, some aspect of homeschooling, or some other issue came up (and they will,) the relationships we had with each other helped us keep the atmosphere friendly and respectful even when the discussion involved polarizing passionately-held beliefs. Also, building our membership slowly, one at a time, helped us to become friends with the new members one at a time. It is confusing when a rash of new people is added at once.

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Our Loop Vision

We developed our vision of who we were and what we were interested in accomplishing over time. We offer our vision as an example to others, and not as a rule of how it has to be. We are a group of homeschooling mothers, homeschooling one or more children, using or seeking to use Classical theory in our homeschool. We therefore strive to support and encourage each other in the tough job of homeschooling and educating ourselves Classically. We also support and encourage each other in our additional roles as mothers of our children, wives of our husbands, daughters or sisters or aunts to family members, and Christians in a lost world.

Our discussions, while mostly centering on Classical Education, can and do include theological questions, real life situations outside of the homeschool, and prayer requests. We are more than a loop for the dissemination of information only. We strive to be in relationship with each other, and we do not encourage membership of those that want only information but keep their distance emotionally. At the same time we understand that building relationships takes time and patience, so we are also not in a hurry, or trying to force anything. While that may seem exclusionary to some, that is who we have grown up to be.

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Our Loop Guidelines

As we grew, we implemented a few simple guidelines to keep things running smoothly. The guidelines we came up with are:

1) Members should be implementing or seeking to implement Classical theory in their homeschool. The purpose of the loop was for support of those homeschooling classically, not defending or even explaining classical education to the skeptical or curious.

2) Members should be Christians that adhere doctrinally to the ACCS Statement of Faith. We place no further theological restrictions than that. All the members of our loop are Protestant. We have Reformed, Baptist, Presbyterian, Evangelical, Lutheran, and even some that Home Church on our loop. The depth and breadth of faith represented has enriched us, as we have learned together.

3) We decided to limit the size of our loop to 25 members, in order to preserve the intimacy that we have together. The benefits of having a larger loop are that more members mean more ways of doing things and more ideas, but you tend to sacrifice intimacy with a large group. The benefits of a smaller group are that it fosters closer relationships and deeper and more honest sharing, but not having a larger pool to draw from is one of the drawbacks.

4) New members, upon joining, receive an introductory letter from every other member in the loop. The introductory letter tells who we are, a little bit about our families, and how God led us to homeschool classically. New members also send in an introductory letter about themselves to the loop at large within a reasonable amount of time upon joining. Because we are busy ministering to our families, no member ever has to send in another letter other than the introduction, although we encourage sending a note from time to time because we care about each other. However, we are sticklers about that introduction letter. We desire to put a mental “face” with an e-mail name, and the introduction letter allows us to do it. If loop membership space is short, and a new member never sends in even an introduction letter, then we encourage that member to perhaps join a less closely-knit loop.

5) Rudeness, disrespectful or dishonoring comments, or public humiliation is never, EVER appropriate or tolerated. Members must respect and protect the dignity of all other members at all times, which we believe has nothing to do with agreement or disagreement of issues or doctrines. A person can passionately disagree on doctrine with another person *in love,* which we believe to be characterized by polite and respectful speech in our letters. We believe that Christians, above all others, should excel in the love and care we bestow on each other, and that there is no excuse for the immature and dishonoring behavior that some Christians engage in toward others, which we have all personally witnessed on other e-mail lists. Any member that engages in rude, disrespectful or dishonoring behavior or remarks is immediately unsubscribed, period, no ifs, ands, or buts, no second and third chances. It is interesting that this policy has been in force from the beginning, and unlike other Christian e-lists, we have never had any problem whatsoever with disrespectful comments or rude behavior from anyone, nor have we ever had to unsubscribe anyone for failing to adhere to this standard of conduct. We have, however, disagreed with each other often, many times passionately. This just proves that disagreement does not necessitate disrespect.

That is the extent of our guidelines.

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A Word About Leadership

We have found it beneficial to have a smaller group within the larger group act as unofficial “Loop Administrators.” In our case the administrators number 3 out of the 25. They arose naturally, being the original members of the loop. We did not begin the loop by hanging titles on some, and ignoring others. The administrators do not flaunt their position, or control the discussion, or otherwise direct the day to day happenings of the loop. They do discuss among themselves matters of policy and make decisions as a group when the need arises. Sometimes the loop goes on for months without a need arising, therefore no discussion among them takes place. At other times they find it necessary to have ongoing discussion about some problem area or another. The issues so far that have arisen that have necessitated the discussion or intervention of the administrators has been:

1) The decision regarding the final form of the loop guidelines after discussion among the all the loop members had taken place;

2) The composing of the CE Loop Welcome Letter, which is sent to new members;

3) The composing of the CE Loop Unsubscription Letter, which is sent to those members that NEVER (and we mean never) participate;

4) The discussion of when a member should be considered for unsubscription, on a case by case basis. In the three years that the loop has been operating, and out of all the members that have come and gone (perhaps 50 or so?) the administrators have only had to discuss unsubscription twice, and actually send the letter once.

5) The discussion concerning a member that professed Christianity but was actually affiliated with a cult.

6) Another instance in which the administrators view it appropriate to intervene would be if a discussion turned personal, ugly, or disparaging. As a loop, we gratefully and humbly admit that this has never happened, even though discussions have become heated at times. We truly believe that by daily encouraging each other to love and good works, and by being careful to allow the Lord Jesus within each of us to develop real love and affection as sisters for the other members of the loop, we have avoided relating to each other out of the flesh, and pray to continue to avoid relating to each other in that way in the future.

The group of administrators truly believe and strive to follow the dictates of Scripture in their positions of leadership. With the loop at large they seek to serve rather than to lord over, and among each other they seek to submit themselves to one another in love in all matters. While they believe it necessary to carefully consider the feelings and ideas of all the loop members in matters of policy, they also believe it is important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than the vote of the majority when making decisions.

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The Meeting Place

As interest in classical education has grown, so have the resources available for classical educators and homeschoolers. With the advent of internet sites such as Yahoo Groups, the old-style e-mail loop has gone the way of the LP. Even the CE Loop is facilitated at Yahoo Groups. New classical education lists for homeschoolers are being started all the time at the above sites, just do a search for “classical education” to find them. These services have made the Meeting Place obsolete.

Support for Classical Christian Educators
This page contains links to the subscription and information pages of the many classical education e-lists available today for homeschoolers, as well as links to the classical education message boards and chat rooms on the internet. There is also a listing of newsletters available to classical educators. Maintained at Classical Christian Homeschooling.

Classical Christian Homeschooling Discussion Board
Since the original CE Loop has remained closed to new members, Christine Miller maintains a discussion board open to all classical homeschoolers and visitors and users of the Classical Christian Homeschooling family of websites. Just click on the link to register.

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Classical Christian Education Support Loop: Setup Information
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This page last revised January 2003
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